Chicago Cubs Greatest All-Time Players: No. 16 – Mordecai Brown
For many, a childhood farming accident that cost multiple digits on a dominant hand is enough to quash any dreams of playing big league ball. But Mordecai ‘Three Finger’ Brown turned it into an illustrious career that concluded with a plaque in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.
Look at any all-time Cubs pitching leaderboard and you’re sure to see Brown’s name. He ranks third all-time in franchise WAR for pitchers, second in both ERA and wins and first in WHIP. When you look at some of his best seasons, particularly his otherworldly 1906 campaign – you may think back to Jake Arrieta’s incredible run in 2015.
In 1906, Brown anchored the staff of a Cubs team that won 116 games — a National League record that stand to this day. He took the ball 36 times – starting 32 and finishing four — amassing 277 1/3 innings of work. He tossed nine shutouts and 27 complete games en route to a 26-6 record and a league-best 1.04 ERA.
It’s not like that was a flash-in-the-pan performance for the Cubs ace, either. In the decade he spent with the team, he posted a career 1.80 ERA across 2,329 innings of work. Such sustained dominance – even in today’s game — is hard to fathom. When any Cubs fan thinks of great arms in franchise history, you’d be amiss to not have this guy at or near the top of the list.
Accomplishments & Awards
- ERA Leader (1906)
- Two-time World Series champion (1907, 1908)